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Graham Awards


Compliance cases open on agents who fail money laundering rules

Propertymark says it’s opened compliance cases against five member agencies following the latest HMRC publication of businesses who have failed to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

These five are amongst 66 property companies in total who have failed to comply with the AML legislation during the first quarter of 2022.

Across the whole list of 66 property businesses, the nature of the published breaches includes failing to apply for registration at the required time; failures in carrying out risk assessments, having correct policies, controls and procedures in place; conducting due diligence and record keeping; and failures in the provision of registration information. 


The trade body say its goal is for its compliance team to achieve visits to each of its member firms at least once within a five-year rolling period, with a minimum of 10 working days’ notice before a visit.

A statement from Propertymark says: “Legislative compliance is key to the industry body's membership with many members referencing this as their reason to join. Members are directed to check the criteria for anti-money laundering registration on joining Propertymark.” 

It adds that while it recognises compliance can be a minefield for both lettings and sales agents, with legislation constantly changing, it wants members to fully engage with its compliance team and its current review process in order to maximise the benefits. 

All estate agents and certain letting agency businesses must be registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering. This includes lettings agents managing properties charging a monthly rent of EUR 10,000 or more.

As the supervisor for estate and letting agency businesses, HMRC publishes details of businesses that do not comply with the regulations.

Propertymark is reminding agents and auctioneers that they must put in place procedures to detect suspicious activity and prevent money laundering to reduce the risk that criminals may target and exploit property agencies for financial crime. 

Having a Money Laundering Reporting Officer is a key part of that process. It is also essential that everyone who works within the business knows who the MLRO is and can name them easily if called by HMRC.

Propertymark training and guidance are also available which outline responsibilities, risk assessments, internal controls, and how to establish, maintain and review written policies.


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